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West Ham trouble blown out of proportion

By Claret and Hugh Associate Editor Sean Whetstone

I felt compelled to write my version of events from yesterday as I stand not far away from the director’s box in the lower West Stand.

First, the media sensationalism of the event is way over the top and reading some reports you would have thought there had been a full-scale riot or pitch invasion by thousands at the London Stadium yesterday.

Lets put it in context, four supporters run onto the pitch from 50,000 plus present and a few hundred fans shouted at the board in a spontaneous protest. I am not condoning the pitch invaders, anyone who threw a missile, anyone involved in violence and any threatening behaviour but those incidents were isolated to my knowledge to just a few individuals. Let’s not join in in the media’s game of blaming all West Ham fans.

Football is about passion and the spontaneous protest in the lower tier opposite the director’s box was supporters just showing their frustration after yet another defeat and being denied their chance to march.

If football becomes a sterile environment when you must sit down, not shout or swear and never challenge the board then I am done with going to games.

I am not making excuses for the pitch invaders and the protesters but stadium operators London Stadium 185 have got a lot to answer for. The stewards were inactive and did nothing for a long time when supporters ran into the pitch. Mark Noble was forced to act as stewards refused to.  The same happened in the stands, stewards stood by watching West Ham fan turn on West Ham. They were like rabbits caught in the headlights not knowing what to do. The same could be said about the director’s box incident. Stewards are stationed there to prevent supporters walking in front of the box when the game is in play after previous abuse. It was predictable that this area would be a flashpoint yet no extra stewards, police or precautions were put in place. Stewards were helpless and just let it happen.

I hope the club see common sense on the protest in front of the directors box and don’t go in heavy handed to give out hundreds of bans. I was there too filming the incident and while I didn’t join in with the protest they can ban me too if they decide to punish anyone out of their seat close to the directors box.  My footage uploaded to youtube was seen by 139,000 people before being blocked by the Premier League even though it contained no footage of the game.


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About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

8 comments on “West Ham trouble blown out of proportion

  1. Well said Sean the media frenzy is way over the top, a pitch invasion is not what happened yesterday a pitch invasion was what happened at Wigan after they beat Man City.

  2. I agree with most of what you say, except it was not after yet another defeat. The trouble started after the first goal, and wrecked the atmosphere for the players as well as for us real supporters.
    Until that moment we were the dominant team, and could have turned it around with 30 minutes left. The change in atmosphere destroyed our chances of winning.
    If this happens again, it will be the fault of those same morons that we get relegated.
    Lets face it, these idiots would get great pleasure out of us getting relegated, just to justify their atrocious behavior.
    So although it has been greatly exaggerated, it still has a damaging affect on our survival chances.

  3. Although I sympathize with your sentiment , Sean , I can’t agree . Even if one person runs onto the pitch it is by definition ; invading the area of a sporting event . So yes , an invasion took place by four such individuals . The gentleman with the corner flag must be in need of mental care ( how old is he , 55 or thereabouts) to do that . If we need policing at the LS it is an indictment of our hooligan and thug element . We have had similar in the past and it has nothing to do with moving to the LS , it is just that there are always those that would spoil everything for vast majority of fans who are decent ( frustrated yes , but nevertheless decent fans ) and want Thier football club to avoid relegation . The media have not in my opinion over reacted ,,, in fact it is a mindless minority of fans which have most definitely over reacted and which deserve to be banned . Nothing wrong with protesting but that all depends on the how and to what level . They overstepped the mark . No team can be expected to perform under those conditions and if our form doesn’t improve then it is down to the constant badgering of that minority of so-called fans .

  4. We have been extremely poor as a footballing team for two seasons or more. We were heading towards relegation long before yesterday. There were no pitch invasions against the likes of Swansea,Liverpool, Brighton, Bournemouth,Newcastle etc.

  5. anyone who was in the stadium experiened the horrible atmosphere created by the moron protesters. we were the better team most of the game and could have come back from that. it was no surprise that heads had gone for the likes of hart collins and noble. very hard to maintain concentration and not be affected by something like that. i understood nobles reaction totally and i understood the reaction of whoever it was in the crowd who took a swing at the escaping pitch invaders. i think the media have got a lot to answer for stirring up a lot of this unrest in the first place. some people havent got the intelligence or the bottle to stand up against something they probably know deep down is wrong, just as deep down every bully is normally a coward, so they jump on the first hateful bandwagon that comes along. you cant make excuses for these people and even if only one person invades a pitch its still a pitch invasion. the rest of them that were chanting abuse at the directors box should be picked out on cctv, identified and sent a letter in my opinion. thanks for trying to destroy my club, we have refunded the cost of your ticket. dont bother coming back, you wont be allowed in.

  6. At the end of the day all the fans want is a team that wins matches.We now get 56.000 each home game which puts us way above the majority of teams and yet we have 7 wins from 30 matches and another relegation scrap.There is no progress on the pitch and quite simply this squad of players is not good enough.It all came to a head yesterday and the owners have to take full responsibility for their lack of investment and sending the club into an ugly spiral.Hard to see where this will end under this ownership.

    • Ban pitch invaders. Don’t ban people who protest –
      that’s madness. I am on the opposite side of the stadium but it didn’t seem violent to me and there was no problem that I saw after the game.

  7. I was to the left of the protests, didn’t see any violence but plenty of understandable anger.
    Bloke with the corner flag was quite amusing.
    We were the better team up to the first goal which was our fault.
    We didn’t create a lot and haven’t all season. You can’t expect Arnie to do it all on his own.
    Nonsense media frenzy…..lets all get a grip and support what we have because nothing is going to change this season.

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